20 Things You Should Never Put in the Microwave: Surprising No-Nos!

Never put aluminum foil, metal, or non-microwave-safe plastic in the microwave. These items can cause fires or release harmful chemicals.

Microwaves are incredibly convenient for heating food quickly. Yet, not everything is microwave-safe. Using the wrong materials can lead to serious hazards, including fires and toxic chemical releases. Certain foods, like eggs or grapes, can also create dangerous situations. Understanding what should never go in your microwave helps maintain safety and appliance longevity.

This guide will highlight 20 items that should always stay out of your microwave, ensuring you avoid common but risky mistakes. Stay informed to keep your kitchen safe and your microwave functioning properly.

Introduction To Microwave Misuse

20 Things You Should Never Put in the Microwave – Introduction to Microwave Misuse

The microwave is a convenient kitchen appliance. But some items should never go inside. Misusing a microwave can lead to dangerous situations. Understanding what not to microwave keeps you safe.

Common Misconceptions

Many people believe they can microwave anything. This is not true. Some items can cause fires or explosions. Others can damage the microwave.

Here are some common misconceptions:

  • Metal objects: People think small amounts are safe. They are not.
  • Plastic containers: Not all plastics are microwave-safe. Some release harmful chemicals.
  • Styrofoam: It can melt and release toxins.

Safety First: Why Care Matters

Putting the wrong items in the microwave can be hazardous. Fires can start quickly. Explosions can occur without warning. Harmful chemicals can be released into your food.

Here are some reasons to care about microwave safety:

  1. Prevent fires: Some materials ignite easily.
  2. Avoid explosions: Sealed containers can burst.
  3. Protect health: Harmful chemicals can leach into food.

Always check if an item is microwave-safe. Read labels and follow guidelines. Safety in the kitchen is very important.

20 Things You Should Never Put in the Microwave: Surprising No-Nos!

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Metal Objects: A Sparking Hazard

Putting metal objects in the microwave can be very dangerous. Metal can cause sparks, fires, and even damage your microwave. Here are some common metal items to avoid.

Forks, Spoons, And Foils

Forks, spoons, and aluminum foil can create sparks. These sparks can cause a fire. Even small pieces of foil can be harmful. Always remove these items before microwaving food.

  • Forks: The tines can cause sparks.
  • Spoons: The bowl can reflect microwaves.
  • Foils: Even small bits can cause fires.

Metallic Trims On Dishes And Cups

Some dishes and cups have metallic trims. These trims can be dangerous in the microwave. Microwaves can cause the metal to spark. This can damage your dish and the microwave.

Item Reason
Plates with Gold Trim Can cause sparks
Cups with Silver Rim Can create fire

Always check your dishes for metallic trims before microwaving.

Plastic Containers: The Chemical Risk

Microwaving plastic containers can be risky. Some plastics release harmful chemicals when heated. These chemicals can seep into your food. Consuming these chemicals can harm your health.

Which Plastics To Avoid

Not all plastics are microwave-safe. Avoid plastics with recycling codes 3, 6, and 7. These plastics can release dangerous chemicals like BPA and phthalates.

  • Code 3 (PVC): Found in food wraps and cooking oil bottles.
  • Code 6 (PS): Found in disposable cutlery and takeout containers.
  • Code 7 (Other): Found in some water bottles and baby bottles.

Identifying Microwave-safe Labels

Look for labels that say “microwave-safe” on the container. These labels ensure the plastic won’t melt or release chemicals. You can also check for a microwave symbol. It looks like a set of waves or a microwave icon.

Label Description
Microwave-Safe Safe for use in the microwave.
Microwave Symbol Indicates the container is microwave-safe.

Always read the labels before microwaving plastic containers. Keeping your food safe should be your priority.

Styrofoam: The Toxic Release

Microwaving food in Styrofoam containers is a serious health hazard. When heated, Styrofoam releases harmful chemicals that can leach into your food. This not only affects the taste but also poses significant health risks. Read on to understand why you should avoid microwaving Styrofoam and explore safer alternatives.

Why Styrofoam Is Unsafe

Styrofoam, also known as polystyrene, contains toxic substances like styrene and benzene. These chemicals are known carcinogens. Heating Styrofoam in the microwave can cause these toxins to leach into your food. This can lead to various health issues, including cancer.

Microwaving Styrofoam also poses a fire hazard. The material can melt and catch fire, leading to dangerous situations. It is important to understand the risks and avoid using Styrofoam in the microwave altogether.

Alternatives For Heating Food

Instead of Styrofoam, use microwave-safe containers. These are made from materials like glass, ceramic, and certain plastics. Always look for the microwave-safe label.

  • Glass Containers: These are durable and do not release harmful chemicals.
  • Ceramic Containers: These are also safe and do not react with food.
  • Microwave-Safe Plastics: Make sure the plastic is labeled as microwave-safe.

Another great option is to use silicone containers. These are flexible, durable, and safe for microwave use. They come in various sizes and shapes, making them versatile for different types of food.

Here’s a quick comparison table:

Material Safety Durability
Glass Safe High
Ceramic Safe High
Microwave-Safe Plastic Safe Medium
Silicone Safe High

Always check the labels and choose safe alternatives for heating food. Your health and safety are paramount.

Fruits And Vegetables: Unexpected Explosions

20 Things You Should Never Put in the Microwave

Microwaves are convenient for quick heating, but some foods don’t belong in them. Fruits and vegetables can cause unexpected explosions, creating a mess and potential hazards. Be cautious with these items.

Grapes And Their Fiery Outcome

Grapes might seem harmless, but microwaving them can lead to fire. The small size and high water content cause them to spark and catch fire. It’s best to avoid putting grapes in the microwave.

The Eggplant Incident

Eggplants contain thin skin and high water content. These features make them prone to explosions in the microwave. They can burst, causing a mess and potential burns. Always cook eggplants using other methods.

20 Things You Should Never Put in the Microwave: Surprising No-Nos!

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Processed Meat: The Sparking Surprise

Microwaving processed meat can be a surprising event. You might notice sparks flying inside. This isn’t just a visual phenomenon, it can also be dangerous. Understanding why this happens and how to safely heat your meats is crucial.

Why Some Meats Cause Sparks

Processed meats like hot dogs and sausages often contain added chemicals and minerals. These additives can cause sparking in the microwave. The uneven distribution of these minerals creates small electrical arcs.

Another reason is the shape and thickness of the meat. Thin edges or metal-like surfaces in the meat packaging can also contribute to sparking. The presence of these factors increases the risk of sparks.

Safe Microwave Practices For Meats

Follow these practices to safely microwave your processed meats:

  • Remove any metal ties or packaging before microwaving.
  • Cut the meat into smaller pieces. This prevents uneven heating.
  • Use microwave-safe containers. Avoid using materials that can cause sparks.
  • Cover the meat with a microwave-safe lid to trap moisture and heat evenly.
  • Stir or rotate the meat halfway through to ensure even cooking.

By following these steps, you can reduce the risk of sparks and ensure safe cooking.

Travel Mugs: The Hidden Danger

20 Things You Should Never Put in the Microwave

Travel mugs are convenient for keeping your drinks warm on the go. But they pose hidden dangers when microwaved. Many people unknowingly risk damaging their microwave or worse.

Metal-lined Mugs

Some travel mugs have metal linings. Microwaving metal is a serious mistake. It can cause sparks and damage the microwave.

This can even start a fire. Always check your mug’s material before microwaving. Avoid putting any metal in the microwave.

Sealed Containers Risk

Travel mugs often have tight-sealing lids. Microwaving sealed containers is dangerous. The steam has nowhere to escape. This builds pressure inside the mug.

The pressure can cause an explosion. Always remove the lid before microwaving. This ensures steam can escape safely.

Eggs: The Pressure Buildup

Cooking eggs in the microwave can be tricky. The pressure buildup inside the egg can cause it to explode. This not only makes a mess, but it can also be dangerous.

Cooking Eggs In Shells

Never cook eggs in their shells in the microwave. The heat causes steam to build up inside the egg. The shell traps this steam. Eventually, the pressure becomes too much. The egg will then burst, creating a mess.

Safe Alternatives For Microwaving Eggs

There are safer ways to cook eggs in the microwave.

  • Scrambled Eggs: Beat the eggs in a microwave-safe bowl. Cook for short intervals, stirring often.
  • Poached Eggs: Crack an egg into a microwave-safe mug filled with water. Cover with a plate and microwave for a minute.
  • Eggs in a Mug: Mix eggs with ingredients like cheese or veggies. Microwave for about a minute, stirring halfway through.
Method Instructions
Scrambled Eggs Beat eggs, cook in intervals, stir often.
Poached Eggs Egg in water, cover, microwave for a minute.
Eggs in a Mug Mix eggs with ingredients, microwave, stir halfway.

These methods avoid pressure buildup. They make cooking eggs in the microwave safe and easy.

Paper Bags: The Fire Risk

Microwaves are convenient, but some items can be dangerous. One of these items is paper bags. They might seem safe, but they are not.

Why Paper Bags Aren’t Microwave-safe

Paper bags are thin and can catch fire easily. The microwave heats food quickly, which can make the paper bag too hot. This can cause a fire.

Also, paper bags may contain materials that are not safe. They can have ink, glue, or other chemicals. These can release fumes when heated. This is not good for your health.

Reason Explanation
Thin Material Can catch fire quickly.
Chemicals Can release harmful fumes.

Better Options For Popcorn

Many people use paper bags to make popcorn. There are safer ways to do this. Use a microwave-safe bowl with a lid. This will keep you safe.

  • Use a microwave popcorn popper.
  • Use a microwave-safe bowl with a plate on top.
  • Buy pre-packaged microwave popcorn.

These options are safer than using a paper bag. They will keep your kitchen safe from fire.

20 Things You Should Never Put in the Microwave: Surprising No-Nos!

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Conclusion: Safe Microwaving Practices

Understanding what should never go in the microwave ensures safety. Following these practices can prevent accidents and keep your microwave in good condition.

Key Takeaways

  • Metal objects can cause sparks and fires.
  • Plastic containers may melt and release harmful chemicals.
  • Styrofoam is not microwave-safe and can release toxic chemicals.
  • Aluminum foil should never be used in the microwave.
  • Travel mugs often contain metal parts that are unsafe.

Embracing Microwave Safety

Always use microwave-safe containers. Check labels to ensure safety. Avoid heating sealed containers; they can explode.

Use a microwave cover to prevent splatters. It keeps the microwave clean and reduces the risk of burns. Never microwave eggs in their shells; they can explode.

Stick to these guidelines for safe and effective microwaving. It ensures your appliance lasts longer and operates safely.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Items Should You Avoid Microwaving?

Avoid microwaving metal objects, plastic containers, and aluminum foil. They can cause fires or release harmful chemicals.

Can You Microwave Styrofoam Containers?

No, avoid microwaving styrofoam. It can melt and release harmful chemicals into your food.

Is It Safe To Microwave Eggs?

No, microwaving eggs in their shells can cause them to explode. Always cook eggs separately.

Why Shouldn’t You Microwave Grapes?

Microwaving grapes can create plasma, which may cause sparks and even fires. Avoid microwaving them.


Protect your microwave and your meals by avoiding these 20 items. Not all kitchen tools are microwave-friendly. Always check labels and materials before microwaving. This simple habit can prevent accidents and extend appliance life. Stay safe and enjoy hassle-free cooking by keeping these tips in mind.

Happy microwaving!


Step into my culinary realm! I'm Herman Mendoza, a fervent culinary explorer and kitchenware connoisseur. Delve into my world of tantalizing reviews, savvy tips, and ingenious solutions for all things cookware and kitchen gadgets. Together, let's unlock the secrets of the kitchen and transform ordinary meals into extraordinary experiences!